By Roopak Goswami
Guwahati, Aug 26 : The Northeast’s contribution to raw silk produced in the country is projected to reach 15 per cent by the end of the Twelfth Plan — up from 14 per cent clocked at the end of the last five-year plan.
The region’s contribution has been steadily increasing since the Ninth Plan, during which it contributed nine per cent of the country’s total production.
“We have been providing all support and this will continue through the entire plan period. We expect to see the share of the Northeast going up to 15 per cent by the end of this period. It could be even more,” Central Silk Board joint secretary Sarat Deori said. “The Northeast’s contribution in the vanya (wild) silk sector of the country is significant.”
Four varieties of silk are produced in the region — mulberry, eri, muga and oak tussar. Sericulture is practised in 81 of the 84 districts in the eight states (including Sikkim) of the region. The region produced 100 per cent of the muga, 99 per cent eri and 100 per cent oak tussar silk in the Eleventh Plan.
A board official said the region’s advantage was that most silk farmers were traditional weavers — a strength when it comes to value addition and additional income generation. Altogether 3,37,106 families are involved in sericulture in the region.
The financial allocation for the region has also been showing a rising curve since the Ninth Plan when it got 19 per cent of the central funds. During the Eleventh Plan, the silk board, under the ministry of textiles, had released Rs 229.05 crore and the tentative allocation for the Twelfth Plan is Rs 266 crore — 30 per cent of the country’s total allocation.
While Meghalaya was the second largest contributor from the region after Assam during the last five-year plan, Manipur is expected to bag second position in the current plan period because of its ambitious mulberry silk production target.
Moreover, the share of mulberry silk production of the region is expected to double, reaching two per cent of the country’s total production by the end of the current plan.
The region’s targeted production in the Twelfth Plan is 4,836 metric tonnes, of which Assam’s target contribution is 2,630 metric tonnes, followed by Manipur at 750 metric tonnes. In the Eleventh Plan, the region produced 3,305 metric tonnes and Assam 2,112 metric tonnes with the BTAD contributing 374MT.
The contribution of the Bodo belt towards Assam’s silk production was roughly 30 per cent in the last plan, and a number of steps are being taken to increase this share. Four new model farms for silk production are being set up in in the BTAD.